One of the issues many pointed to when looking at the downfall of the New York Jets in 2011 was a lack of leadership. The issue of captains became a major one for the Jets, who were dealing with the losses of Tony Richardson, Damien Woody and Shaun Ellis – bigger losses in terms of veteran leadership than on the field. The Jets hoped that the man they paid big bucks to, wide receiver Santonio Holmes, and their young quarterback Mark Sanchez would step up and grab the torch as leaders of the team. It didn't happen, and the Jets have brought in some players with noted leadership ability this offseason, especially Tim Tebow and Yeremiah Bell.
There was a lot of talk last season about the failure of the New York Jets' leadership. That includes Rex Ryan and the front office, but more importantly amongst the players there was a decided lack of responsibility. Control was lost in the locker room and no one stepped up to reign it in. We heard many players talk about it after the fact but none were brave enough to step up and put an end to it when it was happening.
Part of Rex Ryan's solution is that the New York jets will have no captains this season. This stems from many believing Santonio Holmes didn't deserve to be a captain, while there were players who didn't get the designation but did deserve to be in a position of authority. The main message is that someone doesn't need a "C" on their chest to be a leader. In truth, if someone did feel they deserved that recognition, they should have stepped up when things went bad. No one did.
Now, the Jets have brought in some leaders. There was a perception that the Jets lost a lot of veteran leadership with the losses of Tony Richardson, Damien Woody and Shaun Ellis. Now, two new faces will provide some leadership – Tim Tebow and Yeremiah Bell.
Of course, the Tebow haters don't want to hear it, but he will be a leader in the Jets locker room. We have already heard multiple players and coaches talk about his passion and natural leadership abilities. Besides, he's not a normal backup quarterback. He's still going to be on the field a ton and contributing with his play. Again, despite his position on the depth chart, he can lead. That's been the message all offseason from Rex Ryan and the Jets. They want to have 53 leaders on this team.
Yeremiah Bell signed with the Jets yesterday and he was a captain for Tony Sparano down in Miami. He's not afraid to speak up when someone is out of line, like his little squabble with Reggie Bush last season. The Jets need that, as no one in their locker room had the guts to do it last season.
The Jets still hope that Mark Sanchez will grow into a leader. The Jets also hope Santonio Holmes will be a much more positive force in the locker room this year. Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, Sione Pouha and David Harris will also move to the forefront in terms of leading the team as players. It's still important to have depth in leadership. We always talk about depth in terms of talent, but if the expected leaders fail, there needs to be someone willing to step up and take charge. In Bell and Tebow, the Jets now have that.
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